Mahalaya Amavasya

itru Paksha or Shravan Paksha, as it is also known, is the period when Hindus conduct ritual prayers and fasts in honour of their ancestors and forefathers who have passed away. During this period, which starts on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of the moon and ends on the 13th day of the same on Mahalaya Amavasya, Hindus visit the house of their departed ones at midnight and share food with them.

What is Pitru paksha?

Pitru paksha is a festival that falls in the Indian lunar month of Ashvin, around October or November. This tradition is performed to honour the ancestors, who are referred to as pitrus. It’s important to note that all four grandparents are not commemorated on this day. During pitru paksha, Hindus avoid drinking water or taking a bath and do not cut their nails or shave their hair until they finish the 14th day after which they will observe the shradh puja. 

Some people also don’t eat meat during this time but instead eat vegetarian food. There are many other customs associated with pitru paksha such as making donations to temples and other charities in the name of one’s ancestors, doing charity work for others, performing Hindu rituals at homes such as lighting incense sticks, reciting prayers, and reading holy scriptures such as Rig Veda and Yajur Veda.

Importance of Pitru Paksha Puja

Pitru paksha puja is a Hindu tradition that’s been around for centuries. It falls on the 13th lunar day in the dark fortnight (which falls after the new moon and before the full moon) on Sharad Poornima. This festival takes place during sunset and to be more specific, it takes place at night after a bath while fasting from food and water. Prayers are offered to forefathers for their prosperity and peace. Family members offer special snacks called pitri roga as an offering to ancestors. 

Pitru paksha puja was traditionally practised only by women, but nowadays men have also started practising this ritual. The goal of this worship is to free the family from sins committed by their ancestors as well as bring good luck into their lives. During the ceremony, they serve food made of wheat flour, curd, and ghee to their forefathers. They make offerings to gods like Lord Shiva, Vishnu, or Indra with gifts like flowers, fruits, or sweets. 

Pitru paksha puja helps reduce bad karma as well as promote inner peace within the family.

Why do Hindus celebrate Pitru Paksha?

Hindus mark the 30-day period around Durga Navratri with a series of rituals and ceremonies. It is one way in which they give thanks to their ancestors and revere their spirits. The second most important festival that occurs during this time is when family members perform pitru paksha puja. Which is honoring their departed ancestors on the 14th day and 21st day after death. 

In Hinduism, atman (the immortal soul) passes from life to another through Anantara – meaning in between, or reincarnation. When an individual dies, it leaves behind its body (anna deha), and enters its next incarnation. meaning it moves from one body to another until it attains moksha or liberation from rebirth and returns to Godhead (Vishnu). How can I perform pitru paksha puja? What are its various offerings? While there are no specific set rules for how to perform a pitru paksha puja. Many people make elaborate offerings such as incense sticks, lighted lamps, coconuts, bananas, and sugarcane. They also place pictures of all the deceased relatives as well as sweets like laddoos and pedas.

What does the festival signify?

The pandit for pitru paksha puja can be consulted by family members who want to know more about the details and significance of the sacred rite. The pandit for pitru paksha puja kit is a symbolic representation of this tradition. That includes nine betel leaves, coconut, flowers, mustard seeds, sweets, and other items. This ancient Hindu festival was established in India long ago. It falls on Chaturthi Shukla Paksha Trayodashi Tithi during the full moon when departed ancestors are worshipped and appeased. 

Pandits for pitru paksha believe that those who are not properly honoured will curse the family with sorrow, sickness, or tragedy. They perform this ritual to honour the dead ancestor’s wishes and appease them before they pass on to another life. The pandit for pitru paksha puja kit can include an image of the Goddess Yami. Sister of Yama, who guards over the gates of hell to stop those unhappy souls from coming back as a ghost and causing trouble.

How to observe it at home?

One way to observe pitru paksha puja at home is to keep a vigil. Start on the last day of Shraadha and end on the eighth day. This duration can also be observed by keeping a vigil throughout the night before the mahalaya srardham ceremony, which occurs during this time as well. Another way is to observe one day of vegetarianism in respect for one’s elders every year on this date. The mahalaya srardham ceremony is also another opportunity to commemorate the significance of pitru paksha puja

The vigil or fast is practised for eight days in preparation for Mahalaya. Commemorating Shiva being asked to provide light when Durga could not find her children. (her followers) among all living beings after a great battle between good and evil. Though this festival usually falls in September, it does not have any fixed dates. Hence, it can fall anytime from September 12-21 of any given year depending on when Krishna Jayanti falls. The mahalaya srardham ceremony is also another opportunity to commemorate the significance of pitru paksha puja

How are ancestors worshipped in other cultures?

Rituals are important for many cultures because they reaffirm their traditions. Though it is not practised as often, some cultures have rituals to pay tribute to their ancestors. In India and Nepal, the first nine days of Pitru Paksha and the day after Mahalaya Srardham are spent in remembrance of departed family members. On this special occasion, relatives make a pradakshina (circumambulation) around the sacrificial fire as an offering to ancestor spirits to keep them happy. Prayers are offered on behalf of one’s own parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even further back to one’s great-great-grandparents. 

The next day after Mahalaya Srardham starts the festival of Durga Puja where clay idols representing the goddess Durga are worshipped. Goddess Durga is the goddess who symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The ninth day of pitru paksha begins with Yamavratri and this marks the end of Pitru Paksha festivities. People abstain from having any kind of food or water from sunset until sunrise while they pray to Shiva. Asking him to release his fatherly concern over their welfare which in turn will protect them from all dangers.

Final words

Away from worldly pleasures, with the sole focus on father and mother, we worship our father and mother. The puja is one way to honor your family in this holiest month of the year. The way to have close contact with your heritage, but not lose sight of the present day, is to purchase a Pitru Paksha puja kit to be performed at home. It comes with all of the items needed for a traditional puja. Including paan leaves, coconut water (to cleanse), tulsi leaf (for good fortune), camphor (for purity), sesame seeds (to remove obstacles), and sandalwood paste or incense sticks for purification. Finally, flowers are also necessary for decoration. At the end of the ceremony, it is customary to offer food or clothing as an act of gratitude to parents.

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